All you want to know about Roopkund Trek!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Date of Journey - Sept 28th(Kathgodam) - Oct 6th(Delhi) 2009

Now that you’ve seen and heard all about Roopkund, I think you might be interested to know about the logistics of this trek. Read the detailed individual day posts for all the information and pictures of the trek. Also look for the myths, mysteries and more about Roopkund trek through the links given below. Look for FAQs below the links to the day posts.

Read about my first Himalayan trek here - Reminiscing Roopkund - My First Himalayan Trek

Read about how we reached Lohajung here - Kathgodam - Lohajung/Loharjung

Read about the mysteries, myths and 11 things to do on Roopkund trek here - Roopkund - Myths, Mysteries and Magnificence!

Day 1 : Lohajung - Didna
Today is a five to six hour moderate to slightly difficult trek from Loharjung village to Didna which is another village perched on the mountain slope. No change in altitude, remains 8500 ft. you'll need to get down the valley and a tough climb all the way up to reach Didna. The camping spot is just above Didna Village. Click here for pictures and details.

Day 2 : Didna - Bedni Bugyal
Today is one of the spectcular days of the trek. This is a 5 hour moderate trek from Didna to Bedni Bugyal. The initial ascent from Didna to the first clearing at Khopal Top is on the tougher side and then you make your entry into the most beautiful bugyals. It's a relaxed walk from here to Bedni at 11800ft. Click here for pictures and details.

Day 3 : Bedni - Ghora Lautani
Today is a 3-4 hour leisurely and easy trek from Bedni Bugyal to Ghora Lautani with an altitude change of 2000ft. This will be a good idea for better acclimatization else you can proceed towards Bhaguabhasa. Ghora Lautani is a secluded campsite on a slope and all surrounded by high peaks. Click here for pictures and details.

Day 4 : Ghora Lautani - Bhaguabhasa
Today is a 3 hour difficult trek from Ghora Lautani upto KaluVinayak Pass at 15500 ft and then an easy get down to Bhaguabhasa. Altitude change of 1500 ft and today you will be closer than ever to your destination Roopkund. Bhaguabhasa is a very cold place with uneven ground. Click here for pictures and details.

Day 5 : Bhaguabhasa - Roopkund - Bedni
Today is the summit day to Roopkund and Junargali at 16200 ft. It is definitely a difficult day with the early morning cold and snow. It takes 3 hours to go up and come back to Bhaguabhasa. After that, you'll cross Kalu Vinayak Pass and get down to Bedni Bugyal which takes 3 hours. Click here for pictures and details.

Day 6 : Bedni Bugyal - Wan
Today is the last day of the trek from Bedni to Wan village passing through the most beautiful moss infested forests and sparkling gurgling Neel Ganga river. It can be tiring descent but you can make it more fun by cutting across the slopes instead of following the trail. Once you reach Wan, take a jeep to get to Lohajung. Click here for pictures and details.

Where is Roopkund?

Roopkund Lake is situated in Nanda Devi National Park in the Gharwal Himalayas, Uttarakhand. The approximate height of Roopkund Lake is 15500 ft and if you are going until Roopkund, it only is expected that you also climb to Junragali ridge 750 ft above Roopkund to get an astounding unobstructed view of Nanda Ghunti and Trishul massif. The climb to Junargali can get tricky depending on weather and snow conditions.

How difficult is this trek?

This is certainly not a trek you want to try out if you have no prior trekking experience or physical activity. Roopkund - Junargali is a moderately difficult trek and some amount of physical fitness is required before embarking on this journey. Also there is the added fear of AMS. These two factors together can make it a difficult trek at times. But if you have been engaging in some form of physical activity for atleast a month before this trek, this is easily doable.

How can I go to Roopkund? And what is the base camp?

This lake is accessible only on foot and one needs to trek from anywhere between 3 to 6 days. You can start the trek either from Lohajung/Loharjung or Wan village in the Chamoli District of Uttarakhand. Both are small villages nestled in the slopes of Himalayas and you can get nothing more than your basic ration for the trek. So you need to come prepared with all your trekking gear to the base camp.

Will I need guide/porters? if yes, where can I hire them?

Although the trail is clearly marked, on the summit day one may require the help of a guide to reach Roopkund lake if the trail is covered in snow. If you have prior experience with trekking in Himalayas on your own, you can make do without a guide. The air tends to get thinner as you gain altitude and you may feel the weight of your backpack pulling you down. It might be a good idea to hire mules/porters to carry your luggage. Guides/porters can be found in any of the base camps for this trek - Loharjung or Wan.

Lohajung or Wan village? Which one do I suggest?

I’d suggest start the trek from Lohajung as this trail passes through Asia’s finest Bugyal – Ali Bugyal. Alternatively you could start the trek from Wan to reach Bedni in a day which would save one day but the best of the views would be lost. Wan will be the exiting point for either option.

What’s the best time for this trek?

This trek can be done in two windows – either in May-June which is just before monsoons or August - September which is after the monsoons. Now if you chose to do the trek in May/June, the bugyals will be greener than ever and the lake will be thawed which means you get to see the skeletons. However, there won’t be much snow on the trail during this time.

Should you chose to do the trek in September, the bugyals will be a little on the browner side, still beautiful, but towards the end of the month, there will be snow - lots of it. And in all probability, the lake will be frozen. So chose your pick – skeletons or snow!

How many days are required for this trek?

6 – 4 days.
6 days if you start from Lohajung. And take an additional day to camp at Ghora Lautani between Bedni and Bhaguabhasa. If you go directly from Bedni to Bhaguabhasa in a day it will be 5.

5 days if you start the trek from Wan. And 4 days if you start from Wan and skip the additional day at Ghora Lautani and head to Bhaguabhasa instead.

What is the maximum height attained? And do I need to worry about AMS?

The maximum height gained is 15500 ft for Roopkund and 16200 ft for Junargali and this height qualifies the trek as a high altitude trek. Any height above 10000ft is prone to affect the trekkers with AMS and if you don’t know what AMS is, check this link.

AMS is more overrated than it should be and it is not a thing to worry about if you take care properly. Should you feel like AMS is getting to you, take it slowly by gaining not more than 2000ft altitude in a day. In this particular trek, you can either go from Bedni to Bhaguabhasa or take an additional day to camp at Ghora Lautani just to acclimatize. Make sure you drink lots of water and don’t be in a hurry straining yourself.

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  1. Very well written and informative.

    Do you know if we can go above Roopkund and into Nanda Devi biosphere? I know that there are lots of restrictions, but also know that there are people who go in and sometimes also to the peak.

  2. beautifully put together and very helpful!

  3. Neat and informative. Keep them coming...

  4. you've got one of the best maintained travel & trekking blog :)

  5. WOW!!!
    The travelogue was absolutely brilliant.
    amazing pictures and cool writeup.
    Keep up the real good work.Nice effort..Keep the spirits high!

  6. Nice write up. Very informative, neat blog. Keep up the good work.

  7. Hi Neelima! Excellent post! I'll never make it, but it's truly excellent!!

    Thanks for your comments at Blogtrotter 2, which has now landed in Mexico. Enjoy and have a great week!!

  8. # Sankara - I have no clue about people making it to Nanda Devi Peak. From what i've heard and remember, i think Nanda Devi Biosphere is one the closely guarded areas.

    # Thank you Joshi and Glad to have you back Roshmi. :)

    # Sandeep - Thanks! That's a very nice thing to hear.. :)

    # Sorcerer and Sai - Welcome to my blog. Thank you so much and hope you visit again. :)

    # Trotter - ha ha.. thanks! :)

  9. Hey Neelima,
    We are going to Roopkund in June this year with Indiahikes :)
    Your write-up makes me wanna leave right away. Cannot wait until June!

    What kind of practice/fitness quotient had you aimed before doing Roopkund?

  10. ## G - That's great... Roopkund is a great trail and you are lucky you'd get to visit it much before it is going to be commercialized! :)

    I was always actively involved in trekking even prior to Roopkund. So i did not train for this specifically..although this trail needs a decent level of fitness owing to the high altitude and low oxygen levels. Try jogging every day for a month before..that should do.. but i'd like to tell you one thing.. trekking is always a case of mind over matter.. So happy trekking in the Himalayas.. :)
    Feel free to ask me if you have any more doubts and do let me know how it went..

  11. Yep, Ive trekked in the Himalayas before and a trek in the Sahyadris (in Maharashtra) keeps happening every now and then. But I was wondering if Roopkund required special levels of fitness owing to the endurance that it calls for.


  12. ## G - hey G, then you are good.. No worries.. just jog in the morning.. that will be enough.. With the distance that Indiahikes plans to cover each day, reaching campsite gets comfortable even with a slow pace. So that should not be a problem at all and the staff is quite helpful too just in case you run into some trouble.

    But make sure you drink enough water and eat enough food while on the trek.. All the guys who had headache in our batch, got it only because of dehydration. So staying amply hydrated is the key!
    And i am stressing again.. trekking is more of a mental challenge than physical. so stay at it and push yourself to reach Junargali.. I reckon you will completely love the challenge. :)

  13. Wonderfull!! It's in detail and very informative.. while reading it feels as if one is walking along with you!!We are also going to Roopkund this june ( as G has mentioned above)..Your blog will surely help us.

  14. Kshitija - I am glad you found my series helpful.. :)
    June is a pretty good time to see the bugyals in all it's greenest glory! Have lotsa fun and do let me know how it went.. would like to know your experiences as well and feel free to contact me in case you need some info! ATB!

  15. all that I wanted to know about this trail is available here with every minute details. Appreciate your effort to write the blog. Your information will help me a lot this summer. :)

    Thank you!

    1. Glad to know Sajib, all the best for your trek! :)

  16. Hello Neelima,
    Thank you for posting everything in detail. It is indeed very helpful. I am planning a trek this September(on my own)and I hope it is an ideal time to be there.
    Just a query! Do we need to take our own camping gears and sleeping bags or it can be rented at Lohajung? Also, is it allowed to camp where you like or are there marked areas for camping.
    Thanks for your reply in advance.

    1. No marked camping areas, so you can camp wherever you like. Not sure how the situation is these days, I was there in 2009. And regarding renting, don't think Loharjung would have any facilities to rent. Rent it out from Delhi instead.

  17. Hi Neelima,
    First of all excellent post, no doubt about it. I am planning to go there this summer. Have some questions in my mind.
    1. Chances are that i would be going alone. so would that be ok?
    2. Would i find people on trails during trek or trails would be like- no sign of anyone.
    3. Is there any chance that trails might get confusing or lost?
    4. What to do if above happens?
    5. Do i need to carry enough food for 5-6 days or i can get some during treks.

    Would deeply appreciate if you could help me with these questions.


  18. hi neelima!
    what a lovely detailed blog! thanks a bunch.
    we are three of us planning this trek, 27th sept onwards. what do you think of this time of the year for the trek? also, we do not have any trekking experience, so what are your tips for amateurs like us? do you suggest we go with a company or hike ourselves?

  19. hi neelima

    I want to trek roopkund during mid of feb , is it a suitable time to do ?

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  21. Roopkund is called an excellent journey towards life is an outstanding trek one should completed once in a life time. Roopkund is considered as one of the most scenic and exciting trek in India. This trek offers memorable experiences of hiking, camping and walking. This trekking route passes through the dense forest, through the lush-green alpine meadows, requires night camping in to the wild and above the cloud, ends very close to the snow-bound peaks of The Himalayas.
    For completion of Roopkund with Neeraj Joshi of Himalaya Climbers is a best guy cultured person with no bad habits. His energy level, communication skills n his team mates are mind blowing. They all are very soft spoken n very co-operative if u r planning to go with him u doesn’t have to think more for completion.

    Roopkund is a well cultured trek with all things a trekker needs it's full of scenic beauty, full of snow, some thrilling patch, freezing climate with surrounded by snow. U can live trek life by leaving u r routine day today life. Mobile network is also accessible up to Didna village.

    Roopkund should planned at least for 8 to 10 Days in Summer (May or June) as there is less freezing temperature in sunny climate. It can be also plan in winter (Sep or Oct) but this time is very cold n one can find difficulties in route finding due to snowfall.

    I had completed Roopkund in June 2014 and, I think it’s a best time to go.

    Preparation for Roopkund:

    # One should walk daily at least 1 Hour n one should take proper diet before going for trek. Walking is good to improve our stamina, but we have to train our lungs and Mind to survive with less O2 on high Altitude, If possible do Yoga (All breathing Exercise) otherwise there is chance of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)

    # While trekking one should have to take food, water, juice, Dry fruit no one will leave food weather he likes or not otherwise he may caught under AMS

    # Trekker should be always self sufficient in regards to his food & water as one will not get anything in remote villages. Max load of sack is 8 to 10 kg (inc. all things) otherwise it is very difficult to carry or hire a mule or porter

    # Carry only the things which is essential for trek. Take proper Sack which is made for overnight Hikes N Treks quality n durability is assured.

    # Proper trekking shoes are required like Quechua Forclaz 500 (water proof) & above. Do not wear ordinary Sports Shoes it is of no use in that terrain. Before going for any ant trek with the new shoes, it is always advisable to walk with them for at least one week, So that u can avoid shoe bite during trek.

    If someone wants some more details on Roopkund feel free to call me.

    Mr. Devang Vaid

  22. Good Job!! I have read your full blog. Very Informative. Keep up the good work.Roopkund Trek


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